Lodi police officers toured the new Salvation Army family emergency shelter on Friday morning. The Salvation Army has been a resource for them, and most were familiar with the small space of the old shelter at 19 N. Sacramento St.
The Hope Harbor men's shelter and community dining room have been open since late May, and the women and children's portion of the shelter is set to open within a couple of weeks.
Ted Van Alen, director of Hope Harbor, and Major Frank Severs, told officers things about the new shelter located at 622 N. Sacramento St. that would be of interest to them.
"It's fantastic compared with how it used to be," said Officer J.D. Moore. "It's always been a resource for us, but it's better now, and larger."
"It's pretty amazing," said Officer Mike Manetti. "It's clean, well-run and a great resource for the community."
In the case of an emergency, the large kitchen is equipped to serve mass quantities of food. The shelter is also built high enough off the ground to help people in case of a flood. Currently, 80 to 100 are served dinner each day, Severs said. He added that the Salvation Army used to provide three meals a day, but stopped because of men who took advantage of the meals and shelter and wouldn't get a job.
"We don't want to contribute to a life that's irresponsible," Severs said.
The shelter has 50 men's beds, and it is almost filled to capacity, Van Alen said. The men's dorms are divided into different levels of housing including support team (for long-term), transition, short-term and overnight stays. Men who stay overnight are allowed to stay from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., and they are accepted in the evening until 9 p.m., unless there is an emergency. All men must shower upon arrival, and they may have their laundry done. A clothing closet is available if they need a change of clothes.
The Salvation Army has a zero-tolerance policy for people who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Van Alen said.
Those who need rehabilitation are sent to a rehab center at the Stockton Salvation Army. Those who go through programs there may come back to Lodi and stay up to a year working on the support team, Van Alen said. Transitional housing is available for men who work and need to save up enough money to live on their own.
The women and children's dorms will be an emergency shelter only, and will have 27 beds. Community groups that have sponsored the rooms have painted them and provided furniture and decorations. The women's portion of the shelter has a common area with two couches and a television. There's also a children's play room with a crib, but the staff are not responsible for the children.
"I'm pretty sure the women's part will fill quickly," Van Alen said.
He handed out laminated Salvation Army cards to the police officers to give out to people as needed.
"It's great," said Officer Jim Landis. "It will be a place to refer to. Jail is not always a solution."
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